Around Cook County
Matt Geretschlaeger, whose proposal last month to build a zip
line adjacent to a residential area at the city’s west entrance met
with citizen and council opposition, told the council on April 11 that
he had come up with a more suitable location. He said that location—a
parcel on the Gunflint Trail adjacent to and east of the city water
tower—is better because of its topography, proximity to town, minimal
area of current development and zoning.
The Council expressed its willingness to work with Geretschlaeger on
the Gunflint Trail site and voted to order an appraisal of the 20
acres (the cost of which would be billed to the developer) to come up
with a fair market value, and then negotiate for sale or lease of the
property giving Geretschlaeger the right of first refusal.
Geretschlaeger said he would be open to either option (lease or
purchase), but he preferred to purchase the land and is willing to pay
whatever the fair market price is determined to be.
City Attorney Chris Hood advised that the sale of the property would
be more of a “straightforward transaction,” and cautioned that a lease
may involve the city in any number of liability issues.
The Grand Marais City Council put the plans for a new zip line on the
fast track with unanimous approval to appraise and negotiate the sale
of 20 acres of city-owned land off the Gunflint Trail for development
of the $750,000 enterprise.
According to information presented by Geretschlaeger, the “Sawtooth
Mountain Indurance Course” will be built by Geronimo Construction of
Biwabik and include a 2,500-square-foot lodge on an additional acre, a
The Cook County county board, which holds the 1 percent sales-
tax-funded project purse strings, voted at its special work session on
April 17 to continue exploring initial concept ideas and cost
estimates for attaching a Community Center facility to the west wing of the Cook County
Schools complex. They put a cap of $5,000 on this portion of the
process, which will not involve retaining an architectural firm for
any drawings or engineering.
The board also authorized the county attorney’s office to initiate
discussions with the school on assuming ownership of the property as
well as with the Duluth YMCA regarding the feasibility of the Y
managing facility operations and programming.
The next Community Center Steering Committee meeting will be from 9
a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, April 23 in the commissioners’ room of the
courthouse. These meetings are open to the public.
Each weekend WTIP news produces a round up of the news stories they’ve been following this week. The Superior National Forest gets a new chief, a judged rules in favor of ATVs on the Forest, it looks like the fishing opener dates stay put and you won’t pay more to catch your favorite finny friends…all in this week’s news.
A public informational meeting regarding the possibility of AT&T tower replacing
one of the county’s radio communications tower located at the Gunflint Tower
Site, and providing cell service along the Gunflint Trail has been
The meeting will be held Monday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the
Gunflint Lodge Conference Center. Attending the meeting will be
representatives from AT&T and Cook County.
Please contact Sheriff Mark
Falk at 387-3030 with any questions.
There is still time to register for the Gunflint Trail’s Ham Run Half-Marathon and 5k Fun Half-Marathon, which is scheduled for May 6, 2012.
Do you still have what it takes to run the Trail less traveled? If you’ve run it before then you know it isn’t an easy race and finishing times pushing 90 minutes demonstrate the amount of stamina it takes to complete it.
New this year the Ham Run Half Marathon will host a “Health, Fitness and Green Living Expo” on Saturday, May 5 from 1 to 7 p.m. at the Cook County Community Center in Grand Marais in conjunction with the Ham Run registration. Exhibitors are wanted for the event. A tax-deductible donation of $25 is requested for non-race sponsors to reserve their table. Tables are free for race sponsors of over $500. Contact Margo Furcht at 387-3344 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve table space.
Proceeds from the event will be returned to Ham Run race volunteers from nonprofit groups that support fitness and recreation opportunities in Cook County.
For more information and to register for the race, see www.hamrunhalfmarathon.com.
A process begun in 2006 to create a travel management plan (TMP) to designate which forest roads and trails will be open to cars, trucks and off-highway vehicles in the Superior National Forest may be closer to becoming a reality—unless the three environmental groups opposed to the plan once again seek to overturn the Forest Service plan in the courts.
On April 12, 2012, U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson awarded summary judgment to the U.S. Forest Service, giving it the go ahead to proceed with its travel management plan. Judge Richard Nelson rejected the claims of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA), the Sierra Club and Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness (NMW) that implementing the travel management plan and allowing off-highway vehicles in the Superior National Forest would degrade the wilderness character of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Contacted on April 16, Superior National Forest Gunflint District Ranger Dennis Neitzke said his office had heard about the ruling on April 13. He said, “We’ve already started talking about how to implement it. It takes publishing our motorized vehicle use map. We had that prepared a couple years ago, but now we need to update it.”
However, Neitzke cautioned, “There is a chance they’ll take this to appeals court.”
The groups have 60 days to appeal.